There has been a steep rise in the number of adolescents grappling with major depression in the United States. Even amongst this demographic, the trend has been observed to be more prevalent among teenage girls since 2011, states a study published in the journal Pediatrics. Unfortunately, the number of adolescents reaching for support is way less than the actual number suffering from the disorder.
Dr. Mark Olfson, study coauthor and psychiatry professor at Columbia University Medical Center stated that despite the regulation released by the federal government for screening youngsters between the age groups of 12 and 18 years for depression, the number of adolescents actually getting so is low.
One of the reasons for this may be that people do not understand the importance of early detection in the case of mental health disorders and their far-reaching impact if left undiagnosed or untreated. Besides, the screening process across different states doesn’t follow any universal approach.
Study reveals prevalence of depression higher in girls than boys
Listed below are the key takeaway points from the study.
- The study authors populated data on episodic depression and management of depression.
- The participants included 172,495 adolescents who were 12 to 17 years old and 178,755 young adults between 18 to 25 years of age, across the S. The data was obtained from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) from 2005 to 2014.
- Subsequent to data analysis, the researchers observed that over a period of 12 months, there was a sharp increase in the incidence of major depressive disorders among girls, which rose from nearly 13 percent in 2005 to about 17 in 2014. However, among boys, the increase in prevalence of depression was much lower, showing a 1.5 percent increase to reach 6 percent in 2014 from 4.5 percent in 2005.
- Though the exact etiology behind this difference in depression prevalence is yet to be established, the authors have apparently attributed it to cyberbullying. Dr. Olson stated, “While it is not possible to determine the reasons for this difference, cyberbullying may play a role. Negative texting experiences appear to be more common in girls than boys and have been linked to depressed mood.”
- In addition to cyberbullying, adolescent girls face a hoard of other problems such as interpersonal struggles and hence, the stress.
Early screening may help prevent suicides
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) staunchly recommends depression screening in young people falling in the age bracket of 11-21 years old. This step was taken with a view to preventing suicides as it is the leading cause of death among adolescents.
This type of an annual screening would also help in the quantification of the problem, however, teachers, parents and caregivers too need to be careful around children and should be on the lookout of any signs that show the onset of depression. Such symptoms include changes in sleep patterns, energy levels and appetite, and the inability to concentrate on anything.
It is important to understand that though mental illnesses, addiction and cognitive deficits are brain diseases that constrain people’s lives, they do not define them. All individuals should be screened upon admission into treatment programs with a view to developing personalized plans for them. A combination program with medications, including antidepressants, antipsychotics and mood stabilizers, and psychotherapy treatments work best for depressive disorders.
Seeking out treatment for any psychological stress is paramount to living a productive and healthy life. Take the first step towards a joyful life and call the 24/7 Mental Health Helpline today. Chat online or call our 24/7 helpline number 855-653-8178 to know in detail about the mental health services and mental health counseling programs near you.